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How to Have Lunch With Someone: A Guide for Awkward People

Do you ever want to get to know that dude you keep on bumping into who seemed pretty cool? I mean, he asked you for your number, so to him, you’re likely a decently entertaining person. You guys haven’t spoken in months, but you do want to acquire his friendship because he seemed pretty funny and laid-back, and you hope it isn’t too late to ask him to hang out with you. You decide to go out to lunch because, hey, you love food, and it’s not really a date if it’s lunch. But now you’re scared because you have no idea what to say or how to act or how to hold your fork because you’re super awkward and shy.

1. Find out what you like (or don’t like) about him.

First, go through the boring, monotonous questions that people routinely ask. “So what’s your major?” “Why did you come to (insert school you go to)?” “Where are you from?” “What are your hobbies?” are good questions to start with because, while they’re not too personal, they allow the person to go into as much detail as they want about their lives and induce more conversation. And remember, there’s a reason why you asked him to lunch in the first place. What do you want to know about him that’s…um, how should I say this?…appropriate? If he’s into something you’re apathetic about, ask him about it. You’re learning new things. However, if you absolutely and overwhelmingly detest whatever he’s into, make that your last lunch with him. Don’t feel guilty for not hanging out with him anymore! He’ll find other people.   

2. Remember that he accepted your offer.

The dude hasn’t seen you in months. He’s probably going to feel awkward. But if he accepted an invitation to go out to lunch with you, that’s a great sign that he’s willing to set aside some time to get to know you, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re being intrusive. If you were, he wouldn’t have said yes and maybe wouldn’t have even answered your text. There must’ve been something about you that drew him to you in the first place. But anyway, if he feels awkward, that’s okay. It’s normal to feel awkward while hanging out with someone you’ve talked with probably up to three times in your total life span.

3. See it as a meeting to get to know someone, not as a date.

Kudos to you if someone you find attractive agrees to have lunch with you! But once you see it as a date, your awkward self is going to struggle, begging you to cancel the get-together and stay in your dorm eating Ben & Jerry’s while solving a logic puzzle or some other non-social activity. Seeing hangouts as dates, at least for me, freaks me out and induces me to blab more than I usually do, revealing more about myself than I intend. Going into it, just know that this is an opportunity for you to get gradually out of your comfort zone and practice socialization with human beings. Yes, he’s cute, but that doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to be romantically linked with him.

4. Be yourself.

I know this one’s cheesy, but just be yourself! In college especially, you won’t have to see this dude ever again if you don’t want to. However, if you hit it off while you’re being yourself, you can make a new friend or even become this person’s significant other. Also, if you hit it off, it means that people are capable of liking you despite your clumsy awkwardness and it will boost your self-esteem. The more lunches you have with him, the less awkward you’re going to feel. Thinking of the lunch as a test will only screw you over. Be careful, though. In some extreme cases, the information you word-vomit can be used against you, so while you can allow yourself to be you, you need to filter self-deprecating and private things. Other than that, relax, because if he never talks to you after your lunch, you don’t have to have another anxiety-inducing lunch with him ever again!

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Natalie S.


I'm Natalie! I am double majoring in Economics and Psychology at Northeastern University. I like to play piano, watch T.V., paint, draw, read, write, and dance! I speak fluent Spanish as my family is from Argentina and Uruguay, and I have a wonderful twin sister whom I absolutely love.
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